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Village of Lewiston re-establishes separate Historic Preservation Commission

by jmaloni
Sat, May 21st 2016 07:00 am

Duties no longer part of Planning Board purview

By Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

Following a run-through of agenda items Monday, trustees in the Village of Lewiston voted on and approved an unlisted action: reinstating a stand-alone Historic Planning Commission. Since 2000, Planning Board members have executed HPC duties.

Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland explained that, on April 8, 2000, former Mayor Richard Soluri announced the HPC was unable to perform its duties due to a lack of members. By law, the HPC could not operate on its own with less than four members, and so it merged with the Planning Board.

"We currently have ... in excess of seven people that are interested in serving as members of the Historic Preservation Commission," Sutherland said Monday.

He asked for discussion "about moving the Historic Preservation Commission back out of the Planning Board."

Trustee Nick Conde said, "I think it's an excellent idea."

Village Historian Pam Hauth said, "I think that is the thing to do."

She noted it had come to her attention, "If the board isn't separated, we might lose our Certified Local Government designation. And that would not be a good thing."

The National Park Service website states, "Jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), each local community works through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government (CLG). Once certified CLGs become an active partner in the Federal Historic Preservation Program. . (sic) Each community gains access to benefits of the program and agrees to follow required Federal and State requirements. ...

"Community certification opens doors to funding, technical assistance, and other preservation successes."

Sutherland noted the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said combining the two boards was OK, provided the Planning Board members met the Certified Local Government requirements for a historic preservation commission.

"Those requirements are, per our code ... you should have available two architects - one landscape, one municipal planner - and others qualified by reason of training, experience or demonstrated interest in law, local law, business or history, or historical preservation.

"We've kind of let that slide out a bit, in conjunction with our Planning Board.

"There's a lot of training that has to be done in order to keep the Historic Preservation Commission up to speed on things that are happening in that area, and there are a lot of things that have happened since 2000 that have given way to ways that the Historic Preservation Commission can become an advocate to homeowners and businesses to get grants and things like that. We haven't really had that capability."

Trustees unanimously approved one Sutherland motion to recreate the HPC (effective June 1), and a second to waive the village residency requirement.

"I think it's a great idea - something the village should do," Mayor Terry Collesano said.

"There are several people who are stepping up to the plate and want to be involved, and want to do what is right for our village. Because of that, I think it's in our best interest that we do it."

The board is expected to consider HPC applicants at its end-of-the-fiscal-year meeting (6 p.m. Tuesday, May 31).

There is no scheduled HPC meeting day or time as of yet.

The HPC will review proposed modifications to any of the village's 110 historic properties.

Like the Planning Board, the HPC will serve as a recommending body. Trustees will still have the final say on projects.

Boot drive dates OK'd

Trustees voted 3-2 in favor of allowing Lewiston No. 1 Volunteer Fire Co. to hold its boot drive fundraiser on Center Street on each of Artpark & Company's 12 "Tuesday in the Park" concert nights (June 14-Aug. 30).

Collesano voted "No," citing his belief the boot drive is illegal, as per Village of Lewiston counselor Joseph Leone's research regarding a state roadway.

Trustee Vic Eydt voted "No," too, and expressed dismay that the fire department hadn't spoken to or coordinated with the volunteers who collect money for the Community Missions and Heart, Love and Soul food pantries on Artpark Tuesday nights.

Hazardous waste opposition

The board unanimously voted to approve a resolution continuing members' opposition to "the permitting, siting or operation of commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities in Niagara County."

Morgan Lewis

Trustees voted 5-0 to rename their new Red Brick meeting spot the Morgan Lewis Village Boardroom. A War of 1812 general and former New York governor, Lewis is Lewiston's namesake.

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